Republican anger is growing over the decision to give a Chinese company government approval to buy a U.S. clean-energy corporation.
They are worried that Wanxiang America’s takeover of A123 Systems of Waltham, Mass., could affect national security, because of its military contracts. Though A123’s military operations weren’t included in the purchase, Republican congressmen said military information may be inseparable from A123’s commercial work.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) authorized Wanxiang America’s $257 million purchase of A123 Systems’ automotive, energy storage, commercial, and government operations, the Chinese company announced Tuesday, according to The Hill
CFIUS is an interagency panel led by the Treasury Department that has the authority to strike down deals with foreign companies if they threaten national security. Some Republican legislators urged CFIUS to block the buyout for exactly that reason.
"This is a clear cut example of a time when President Obama needs to step in and protect our national security interests," Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, vice chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told The Hill Tuesday.
Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have called for a full briefing from CFIUS.
In December, the committee approved the purchase of a U.S. DNA sequencing company, Complete Genomics, by another Chinese company — BGI-Shenzhen — despite warnings from scientists, politicians, and industry executives that the buyout might lessen our advantage in DNA sequencing, which is becoming important for medicine and agriculture, The New York Times reports.
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